Caught in a web



Singer Devan Ekambaram is coming out with his first Telugu pop album

Opportunity can knock at any time. And playback singer Devan Ekambaram will agree for sure. We all know the benefits of the World Wide Web. But for Devan, a scrap on his Orkut profile from an unknown person is all that took to spark off a series of scraps and mails that finally led to his debut Telugu pop album. "One day, Swapnesh Chintala scrapped me casually to say that he owns the copy of my first album and loves the songs in it. I was happy and surprised because my first album came out almost eight years ago and here's someone who still remembers it. As an artiste, I feel happy when someone appreciates my work rather than my voice, as the latter comes to me naturally but a good piece of work requires a lot of hard work," recalls this A. R. Rahman discovery. It was after hearing his first album that Rahman called Devan to sing Shakalaka baby for Oke Okkadu, which was followed by Smiyai Smiyai Manse from Priyuralu Pilichindi.Swapnesh's scraps turned into mails and the two were soon exchanging opinions on music, the industry and themselves. "I was impressed with Swapnesh's work in TV and film production houses. During one of our conversations he asked me why I wasn't bringing out a Telugu version of my albums. I told him that I was interested, but finding a producer and sponsor was the main issue. And that's when he offered to produce it and also find the sponsors," says Devan. Cheppana Prema, as it is called, is an album about love and features the title song from his first album and his latest Tamil album, Mudhal Mazhai, along with singer Harish Raghavendra. The music composer cum singer has roped in Naresh Iyer, Ranjith, Anitha and Mrinalini to sing for the album. "We were looking for someone young to pen the lyrics, but since we couldn't find the right candidate Swapnesh himself donned that role," explains Devan, who has hits from movies like Kushi, Nuvve Kavali, Kalusokovalani, Vennela and, the latest one being, Desamuduru his credit. Interestingly, all the collaboration work happened only through mails and chat and the two met only during the recordings in Chennai. At 30, this New York-bred singer has already sung in over 250 films in various languages. For now, he is just keeping his finger crossed for the success on his album, which is due for release in February. "I just hope other singers follow suit. Album allows you to do your kind of music and project yourself the way you want to your listeners to know you," says Devan, who has also done an album in Malayalam. M.R.

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